The Ten Best Grunge Bands

Categories: Commentary

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A couple of weeks ago, Pearl Jam played the American Airlines Center and rocked the hell out of the place. But after all of these years, can anyone still call Pearl Jam a grunge band? As someone who was in college when the grunge sound came wallowing out of Seattle, I can attest to the greatest of much of the music and the ridiculousness of seeing so many guys wearing flannel. But as guitars get more and more scarce on the Billboard Hot 100, we pine for distortion more and more. In tribute to what may prove one of the last great rock movements, we offer our ten favorite grunge bands.

10. Pearl Jam
From the beginning, Eddie Vedder and crew had a very tangential connection to the grunge scene and the grunge sound. Sure, bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard served time in two real grunge bands, Green River and Mother Love Bone, but Vedder's presence was always that of a rock god, a far cry from every other front man. And exactly what albums from Pearl Jam can really be considered grunge? Maybe 1993's Vs. For strictly sentimental reasons, Pearl Jam hits the list at number ten.

9. Mother Love Bone
Basically Pearl Jam before Vedder. Sadly, singer Andrew Wood died just months before the band's debut album, Apple, was released. The album featured some good songs, but pointed to the corporate leanings that would define Pearl Jam.

8. Tad
Led by the magnificently rotund Tad Doyle, the band Tad was a chaotic, Black Sabbath-inspired mess. Most importantly, these guys defined the grunge aesthetic: they were ugly and they didn't give a shit.


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24 comments
disgruntledtoaster
disgruntledtoaster

Murder City Devils. But not sure if they count as grunge. Then again, Soundgarden is on the list, so...



P1Gunter
P1Gunter

Mudhoney at 1 shows that this guy knows his shit. Superfuzz Bigmuff is the seminal grunge record.

I read a comment below that this was a best of Sub Pop list. That's because Sub Pop *was* grunge back then. Most of the great Seattle bands of the day were on Sub Pop.

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

I love Mark Lanegan but you are supremely ovverating the Trees....they were the kings of good singles and shitty album fodder.

ChrisYu
ChrisYu

soul. rockabilly. punk. polka. anything but grunge please.

DavyCrockett
DavyCrockett

Any list like this doesn't doesn't have Soundgarden and/or AIC is shit. Thus, this list is shit.

YRTLTRTL
YRTLTRTL

How old is the person that wrote this?  Were you even alive in the early 90's.  The words bullshit and joke were mentioned in other comments...seems like the only accurate thing about this article. 

Mervis_Earl
Mervis_Earl

"But slowly, popularity morphed Soundgarden into a slightly better than average, run of the mill rock act."

Lulz. That sentence plus exclusion of AIC renders article failed.

endo_jmf
endo_jmf

I dunno.  Do any of them accept being labeled "Grunge"??

HipsterDumpster
HipsterDumpster

Should of just called this list best of sub pop...thrown off the never underground pearl jam and thrown on the supersuckers for good measure.

Lions_Love_Jokes
Lions_Love_Jokes

I agree. No Alice in Chains; this is a joke. Sonic Youth, Jesus Lizard...hell, you can even give an honorable mention to The Butthole Surfers. Terrible list. 

TLS1
TLS1

As I clicked my way from 10 to 1 I thought finally this guy is getting something right.  But not only did you not put Alice in Chains at #1 you don't even have them on the list.  So the list is bullshit.  

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

@P1Gunter doesn't matter Buzz Osbourne, Dale Crover, Coady Willis, whathisname, Lorax, Preston, etc.. rule this list!

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

@ChrisYu Dallas only birthed one of the best rockabilly/psychobilly acts ever...why the fuck would the DO ever cover anything like that....Unless another Hipster web site du jour (because the "subculture" who claims to be the most original is/are actually the biggest clone sheep followers corporatists ever) favors the band the DO wont touch it with a ten foot pole.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

I'd consider AIC more a metal band than a grunge band. Outside of Jar of Flies they were pretty heavy. Thing is they didn't use the same type of distortion as the grunge bands.

darrylrs
darrylrs

@Mervis_Earl Alice in Chains were also grunge-lite. I never considered them for this list.

DavyCrockett
DavyCrockett

@darrylrs Yes, in my haste to not get caught by boss man, I missed seeing them on the list. However, I don't know how you can have them and leave off AIC. Just my opinion.

TLS1
TLS1

@darrylrs @Mervis_Earl Grunge-lite?  I die.


So, what is your definition of grunge?  And once you give me that I'm going to hit you with the top ten grungiest AIC songs.

Lions_Love_Jokes
Lions_Love_Jokes

@jonathan @Lions_Love_Jokes Not like some of the bands mentioned above, no, but relevant to what eventually evolved into what became "grunge". I know they were highly influential on Nirvana, and other well respected bands of the time as well. 

darrylrs
darrylrs

@TLS1 @darrylrs @Mervis_Earl and looking at the chronology, Alice in Chains formed a good two to three years after the initial burst of grunge bands out of seattle. as a matter of fact, I've found dozen of interviews where the band distances itself from the grunge sound. I never liked them and I, like many others, never associated them with the grunge scene. I can give you quotes from many people central to that sound/scene that would laugh at Alice in Chains being included.

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